This Brazilian project is based in the town of Itaperuçu (pop 20,000) in the state of Paraná. While the city of Curitiba (pop 1.7 million) is only 20 miles away from Itaperuçu, very few citizens know of the existence of this impoverished community, a community with many problems including drugs, guns and corruption.
Monte Horebe teaches the Gospel through its practical work in the local community and in outlying rural areas. It works to raise the standard of living and the self-esteem of the people and to make them more employable.
This it does through practical support including:
- Child sponsorship
- Mainstream education (5-14years)
- Adult ICT education
- Childcare facilities
- Home improvement/home provision
- Youth groups
Child Sponsorship in Monte Horebe
While Brazil in general might not be categorised as a country of the developing world, there are many communities which, themselves, display the characteristics typical of those in need of social, educational and economic development. Itaperuçu is such a community.
The reasons for poverty in Itaperuçu include low standards of education and the inability of many people to break out of the poverty cycle. Monte Horebe, through its school as well as its other work, seeks to provide educational experiences which are above average and which provide pupils with the knowledge, skills and understanding which will make them conscientious and contributing citizens. Thus, by supporting children in the school, sponsors are not only supporting needy families but helping to create members of society with positive attitudes who themselves will be able to bring about improvement in their own lives, the lives of their families and thereby in the community.
Sponsorship money helps to pay school fees and to provide for any other needs which the children may have. Currently some 36 children are being supported by individuals or groups in Northern Ireland. A similar number receive help from Canada while the number of Brazilian sponsors has increased in recent years.
Another positive feature of sponsorship has been the meeting of short term mission workers Arnold and Louise McClean with their sponsored child Keisy and Rena Lindsay with hers, Marlon. While it is not possible for all sponsors and their children to meet, letters and photographs can be exchanged, those coming from Brazil proving just how much families there appreciate the support given to them.
The Monte Horebe Dental Clinic has been operating since 1995 when it was the only such clinic in Itaperuçu. While all dental care must be paid for by patients, those who attend the Monte Horebe Clinic are asked to pay only what they can afford to pay. The dentists, all of whom have their own practices in Curitiba, are prepared to work voluntarily if necessary, viewing their work as a contribution to the local community. The 10 dentists involved generally work one day per week, two dentists travelling out from Curitiba each day. The equipment which they use has been donated by Canadian manufacturers and is of high specification.
The benefits of the clinic extend beyond the improvement to people’s dental health and to their self-esteem into the provision of employment for local people. Those who work as dental nurses and as receptionists have been encouraged by Monte Horebe to enrol in appropriate vocational and academic courses. This is typified by the example of one mother of two teenagers who has returned to night school in order to complete her secondary education with the goal, eventually, of becoming a teacher.
Update – November 2009: